Oversized prints of a beach, sitting in a massive frame and taking over a wall has been a trend for years now.
If you’ve never heard of Gray Malin, he is an iconic photographer who is known for ariel beach shots he takes from his helicopter. You have probably seen them. They’re just pure happiness: white sands, dots of colorful umbrellas, aqua waters. Sometimes they are more whimsical- he has some animal prints that also invoke happiness and fun. Put any of these prints in a room and it will totally set the vibe.
What you also may not guess is that a nice oversized Gray Malin framed print (36” x 54”) will cost you over $2,500.
But he’s not the only one taking ariel shots of beaches (although in my opinion he’s one of the best). There are lots of these styles of photos if you know where to look, some better than others.
Back in 2015, I had this urge to put up a large oversized beach print in Sofia’s nursery. Obviously I was not going to put a $2.5k piece of artwork in my kid’s room, but I was willing to spend a few hundred because it was going to be the focal point of her room and who grows out of the beach? Even at that price, I couldn’t find any oversized framed prints for my budget! And I didn’t want to go the IKEA route, although I do appreciate those big frames and have several in my house- I wanted something that looked and felt substantial. I wanted a high quality frame so that this could pass for high quality art. Because, it was!
This is my creation! At 40”x30”, it’s an attention grabbing piece, in a substantial heavy frame with clean lines. Here is how I did it.
I planned to save the bulk of my budget to spend on the frame since it would be large. So my print that I chose would have to be something I could download and have printed off for me, for pretty much… peanuts.
I began looking through stock images. Stock images are professional photographs that are royalty free (meaning you can pay to own them, but then you can use them however you want, within reason). Most are pretty bland, with generic looking people (because they are supposed to be), but some photos are really good. You just have to sort through quite a lot to find that one!
I liked Shutter Stock the best. They had a massive collection, and I liked that I could search specific terms, and most importantly, could download high quality images. I searched their database with terms like “ariel beach scene”, “view from above beach”, or “tropical beach umbrellas”.
These were some of my search results that ShutterStock gave me:
Once I found a few possibilities to consider, I went ahead and joined ShutterStock. Since I didn’t have plans to print off any more photos from them in the future, I just bought the “PrePaid Image Pack”. I paid $29, and they gave me permission to download any 2 images (out of their 262 million options) within a year’s time. So my one photo download cost me $14.50. Not bad!
This is the image I chose. Of course here it looks like garbage- it’s blurry and has a watermark on it; you have to buy it before they will give you the high quality version and take off the watermark; but they do let you preview it unwatermarked! This print is of a Portugal beach at Nazere, and maybe one day I can actually leave my house and go there. Until then, it will preside in our home teasing us. If you also like this particular print that I have, it is photo ID 15103951 and I’m fairly certain you can look that number up on the ShutterStock website to find it.
Next I wanted to find a place that would print it off LARGE while keeping the quality.
I printed it off at Poster Print Factory. Poster Print Factory prints any custom size prints, at “photo lab quality”. They are also super quick! I bought a 40” x 30” for $28. So my grand total for the print itself was $42. Not bad!
A word here— none of these links are sponsored of course. I have only used Poster Print Factory and ShutterStock on this one occasion. Both times I was happy with the product! I don’t have extensive experience with either company as it was just one business transaction. It’s also worth mentioning, this was 4 years ago. So if you are inclined to print somewhere else, please do so. This is my experience.
Poster Print Factory sent me the print just a few days later and I was jumping up and down with excitement when it arrived. It came nicely packaged in a large tube, the sides shut off so that nothing could damage the print. All the details of the beach and the people were there- it was a beautiful print job.
After this step, all there was to do was take it to down to my local custom frame shop and get it custom framed. I personally don’t like using Michaels to custom frame my pieces. They are constantly sending out those “coupons” and I find their supposed sales to be a bit gimmicky and overpriced (just my opinion). Find a good local custom frame shop in your town that isn’t a chain. (I use Bull City Art and Framing all the time here in Durham! Highly recommend!)
I probably paid about $400, but I honestly don’t remember the exact amount. It was in that range and I remember it felt like a lot at the time, but here we are 4 full years later and my tastes have changed and trends have changed and I still LOVE and cherish this just like the day I went to pick it up from the frame shop. I turned down many of the upsells like UV free glass, etc to keep the cost of the frame as low as possible. I did not want a mat, I preferred to keep it clean and modern. I also did not go with the anti-glare glass (obviously!) so it doesn’t photograph too well, sadly. I don’t think I would chose that option next time.
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